Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Ignition Cable

Our certified mechanics come to you · 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

GET A QUOTE Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront
Red-stars EXCELLENT RATING ON

Cost of Replacing a Bad or Failing Ignition Cable

Common signs include a decrease in power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency, the Check Engine Light coming on, and visible damage to the cables. Our certified technicians can come to you and diagnose the problem. You will receive a $30 credit towards any follow-up repairs that result from the diagnostic. Following are example prices for Ignition Cable (Spark plug wires) Replacement. Click on the button below to get an upfront quote for your car.

Cars Estimate Parts Cost Labor Cost Savings Average Dealer Price
2010 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 $165 $80.69 $84.00 21% $209.69
2003 Dodge Intrepid $141 $71.13 $70.00 20% $178.63
2004 GMC Yukon $179 $80.69 $98.00 22% $231.19
2010 Mercedes-Benz S550 $393 $322.78 $70.00 8% $430.28
2009 Land Rover Range Rover Sport $122 $51.58 $70.00 23% $159.08
2005 Porsche Boxster $239 $169.09 $70.00 13% $276.59
GET A QUOTE FOR YOUR CAR Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront

How to Diagnose a Bad or Failing Ignition Cable?

ignition cable

The ignition cables, commonly referred to as the spark plug wires, are an ignition system component. While the vast majority of newer vehicles have now incorporated coil on plug ignition systems, ignition cables are still found on many road going cars and trucks. The ignition system works by firing off sparks at regularly timed intervals in order to ignite the engine’s fuel mixture. It is the job of the ignition cables to carry the engine’s spark from the ignition coil or distributor, to the engine’s spark plugs.

Spark plug cables are made of durable, low resistance materials that are able to withstand the high energy of the ignition system, as well as the harsh conditions underneath the hood. As they are link that carries the spark necessary for the engine to operate, when the spark plug cables have any issues they can cause problems that can affect engine performance. Usually faulty ignition cables will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.

1. Decrease in power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency

One of the most common symptoms of an issue with the ignition cables is engine performance problems. The ignition cables carry the spark from the coil and distributor to the spark plugs so that engine combustion can occur. If there is any issue with the spark plug wires the engine spark can be disturbed, which can result in engine performance issues such as misfires, a reduction in power and acceleration, as well as a reduction in fuel efficiency. In severe cases bad cables may even result in engine stalling.

2. Check Engine Light comes on

Another symptom of a potential issue with the ignition cables is an illuminated Check Engine Light. Faulty cables can lead to engine misfires as well as excessively rich air fuel ratio, both of which can set off the Check Engine Light if detected by the computer. A Check Engine Light can also be set off by a number of other performance issues, so having the computer scanned for trouble codes is highly recommended.

3. Visible wear or damage to cables

Visible wear or damage is another symptom of an issue with the ignition cables. Old cables may dry out, which may lead to cracks in the insulation. There are also instances where the cables may rub up against a hot manifold or engine component, which may cause them to melt and burn up. Both of these issues may compromise the cable’s ability to transport the spark to the spark. This can lead to misfires and other performance issues, and in more serious cases may even lead to the cables shorting against the engine.

While many newer vehicles are now being manufactured without ignition cables, they are still found on a large number of road going cars and trucks, and play a vital role in engine performance. If you suspect that your vehicle may be having an issue with the ignition cables, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the cables should be replaced.

Misfire
ignition system
fuel economy

Fast and easy Ignition Cable (Spark plug wires) Replacement service at your home or office.

GET A QUOTE FOR YOUR CAR
Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront

Recent Ignition Cable (Spark plug wires) Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Ignition Cable (Spark plug wires) Replacement Service

Average Rating

4.8/5

Number of Reviews

195

Rating Summary
184
5
1
1
4
184
5
1
1
4

Cesar

6 years of experience
162 reviews
Cesar
6 years of experience
Cesar was very professional and honest with his recommendations and service. He also solved a loud squeaking noise which I thought was me needing new break pads. He reassured me my brakes were fine and that it was something else. We took a test drive and in about 5 to 10 minutes he diagnosed and solved the problem. I intend to ask for Caesar's service in the future and no longer use my mechanics shop. The pricing was fair and clear and serve was conveinment considering I missed no work, didnt not have to uber, and he came to my apartment and did it right there. Thanks again Caesar !
2007 FORD TAURUS - IGNITION CABLE (SPARK PLUG WIRES) - SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

William

30 years of experience
51 reviews
William
30 years of experience
Super professional and very skilled. Showed up on time and was very friendly, and even tho he was not sent out with the right parts, and needed to leave to get them (not his fault), the job was still done on time and I am super pleased
2006 CHRYSLER PT CRUISER - IGNITION CABLE (SPARK PLUG WIRES) - HEMET, CALIFORNIA

William

30 years of experience
51 reviews
William
30 years of experience
Absolutely phenomenal mechanic! Was able to complete repairs in half the time that had been estimated and was very knowledgeable! Thank you William!
1993 HONDA CIVIC - IGNITION CABLE (SPARK PLUG WIRES) - MURRIETA, CALIFORNIA

Terry

27 years of experience
101 reviews
Terry
27 years of experience
Terry was the best mechanic I've had. Instead of just fixing the problem and leaving he spent the extra time yo fix additional problems so the car would be in top shape.
1996 OLDSMOBILE 98 - IGNITION CABLE (SPARK PLUG WIRES) - TEMPE, ARIZONA

More related articles

How Long Does a Vacuum Brake Booster Check Valve Last?
The braking system on your car requires a lot of pressure. The vacuum booster is one of the main sources of this pressure. This booster will take the pressure that...
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222...
Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...

Related questions

Q: Car jerks when shifted into drive, transmission slipping

Hello. Too much transmission fluid sometimes causes slipping in the transmission, but usually causes seals to blow or fail prematurely. It sounds like your car may have a misfire condition. This means that one or more of your spark plugs...

Q: Problems starting car. Replaced fuel filter.

I would have the fuel system checked out by YourMechanic. They will need to put a pressure gauge on the fuel rail to test for fuel pressure. It sounds like you may have a bad fuel pump, in which case,...

Q: Significant gas mileage drop after tire change

If the vehicle fuel efficiency has dropped 15%, and there is no obvious explanation, something is wrong. The timing of the tire replacement to the drop-off in mileage is undoubtedly just a coincidence unless the tires are wildly defective thus...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1-800-701-6230 · hi@yourmechanic.com